Our Big 2022 Predictions

Last week we looked back, this week we’re looking forward. We’re peering into our crystal ball and looking forward to the next year and breaking down some predictions through the lens of our services: Fame, Transformation and Planet.

We’ve been taking the time to also reflect on THINKHOUSE’s success... Our Founder, Jane McDaid, is interviewed and featured on IMJ’s Adworld today.

For progressive, future focused agencies and brands – 2021 has been good. The indies are thriving – we are playing the long game. We’re in it for the love. We’re in it because our team, our work and our clients matter more than anything in the world. Indies are led by entrepreneurs, and we work without boundaries. We’re resourceful, we think the unthinkable, we foster innovation and we remove the fear of failure. We’re the dreamers- we foster that spirit within our teams. Dreamers help brands dream bigger.”

Read the full piece here on Adworld.

So, what are our big predictions for (youth) brands and marketing in 2022?

Fame - The Big One - Next Level Social Shopping

“1 in 4 (27%) of teens and young adults are expecting to shop directly through social media feeds and special in-app features [in 2022]” Instagram Trend Report 2022

Next year, shopping on social will be making even bigger waves, with the rise of things like “Live Social Shopping” getting more airtime and branded opportunities on the rise. Ahead of the holiday season, Instagram’s own shopping tab was hosting a live Christmas pop-up shop with celebrity guests doing live shopping with brands like Urban Outfitters. Think Home Shopping Channel meets your fave creator doing an IG Live. It’s that simple.

To add even more incentives to this for creatives, there are new ways of tagging partnerships on Instagram so there are even more ways for branded content that results in sales. It’s not only Meta-owned platforms that are gearing up for more social shopping opportunities next year. TikTok have been hosting shopping events based on their trending hashtag #tiktokmademebuyit with live streaming events. There’s also a massive rise in secondhand shopping opportunities that tap into more conscious consumption trends with the likes of Depop & Poshmark. Looking at the huge tech company Tencent, the company behind WeChat, as an example of nailing social commerce experiences, they earned revenue of $73.9 billion back in 2020 and are pretty much the biggest social platform in terms of user transactions. How? Through fully-integrated systems that merge social media, digital payment infrastructure and product discovery. We expect to see more of this.

“Social is the modern runway, magazine cover, storefront & point-of-sale combined. It offers the opportunity to create seamless, shoppable experiences directly in the apps where consumers spend most of their time. Next year, there will be even more product discovery from peers as well as brands, more ways to facilitate consideration based on reviews from real people, and even more purchasing with in-app shopping functionalities improving. It’s becoming the norm and a place of sharing.” Lauren Murphy, Senior Social & Digital Innovation Manager, THINKHOUSE

Bonus prediction - Realness Wins

Following the radical honesty from sports-people like Naomi Osaka, Simone Biles and Sha’Carri Richardson (all being up front about the realities of the pressure associated with working in sport), we think there is going to be more moments of realness winning in 2022. Let’s see what truth bombs come out at the upcoming Winter Olympics in Bejing!

What you can do now - Explore new shoppable content verticals that can connect with consumers in new ways.

Being honest and real in storytelling will help with convincing consumers throughout the funnel and creates new moments to convert.

Transformation - The Big One - Welcome to Creators 3.0

Creators are in control! Influencer marketing is going to continue to evolve. With continuing algorithm changes creators will lead the creative rather than brands dictating. We’ve seen this with the rise of celebrity creative directors but also with big influencers taking up key roles in companies to champion creator-led creativity. In addition to this, with the rise of Web3, brands and social platforms are reaching out to creators to help them break into new digital spaces (and better understand them).

Given the increase in brands using influencers/creators as a proven marketing tool, there’s more and more work coming in. With this, the other big thing that will impact work with influencers and creators is reframing how we approach exclusivity. The amount of brands tapping into influencer/creator-led marketing has brought up questions about guaranteeing loyalty from brands' favourite partners when they work on a project together. This has led to the rise of exclusivity clauses, thus owning more space around campaign launches. As Laura Wall at THINKHOUSE puts it, it is going to get more competitive and a new space to navigate for brands working with creators.

“Exclusivity clauses are on the rise; brands have their favourite influencers and want exclusivity but it’s going to cost a hell of lot more than it did before.” Laura Wall, Group Account Director PR & Advocacy THINKHOUSE

Bonus prediction - Metaverse Business As Usual

We’ve been mentioning the metaverse a lot recently, and our extra transformation 2022 prediction is that the shift goes from “WTF is the metaverse” to “what can we do next in our virtual worlds?”. Brands are preparing themselves to be fit for business and getting ready for this next phase, Web3. This week Nike announced they have purchased RTFKT studios, a company that creates NFTs and sneakers for the metaverse. This means that the brand is getting ready to scale out operations for virtual apparel and keep Nike sneakers trending. With the COVID19 pandemic continuing to impact how we work and new work from home orders of late, we expect workplaces will begin to explore working from the metaverse, with Mesh from Microsoft Teams launching in 2022. We even saw one company have their all-hands meeting in the metaverse last week. For us at THINKHOUSE, we’ve been embracing new digital frontiers always; throwback to when we launched an agency on Second Life in 2007. The tech wasn’t there to facilitate the complete immersion, but needless to say, we’re ready for it now.

What you can do now - Be open to new ways of working and collaborating with more people. There are going to be more and more creators doing new things in all different territories so embrace the journey. Do all the learning now, upskill, be ready to work with partners that are already doing things in the territory and create frameworks for your teams to upskill in this new territory.

Planet - The Big One - Green Marketing Grows Up

As an increasing number of brands are taking action on the importance of communicating sustainability credentials to a values (and value) driven youth audience, greenwashing has continued to be a huge problem. With rising literacy and regulation, we predict that eco marketing will become more advanced, looking to meet expectations in increasingly creative, innovative and transparent ways. Alongside this, there will be more opportunities for putting green marketing into practice IRL. Expect the likes of festival spaces to focus on more eco-friendly pilots and experiences.

“We’re all on a transformative journey, but there’s no finish line when it comes to sustainability. We’ve been working with new frameworks and training programmes that have been helping grow our clients’ confidence and ability in this space, opening up new opportunities and more courageous communications. We’ve also been working on an industry level to strengthen our collective response to the climate crisis, contributing to the likes of GoodLife2030 by Purpose Disruptors which premiered at Cop26. It’s a really exciting time and we can’t wait to take it up a notch in 2022!” Laura Costello, Strategy Director, Purpose & Planet, THINKHOUSE

Bonus prediction - Youth Voicing Out

Our Youth Culture Uncovered 2021 report ‘Emerging in an Emergency’ identifies the era of ‘Voicing Out’ where younger audiences are challenging expectations. Housing and mental health are huge issues that are top of mind (especially in Ireland) as young people observe society as working against them - not for them. With this, a groundswell of discontent is likely to see this generation become even more unapologetically outspoken, especially when it comes to issues that matter to them - speaking their truth to the brands and businesses that they deem to be working against them.

What you can do now - Nurture empathy for younger generations’ values and issues of concern. Arm yourself with the knowledge and partners you need to have the confidence to grow greener in everything you do into 2022 and beyond. Think beyond traditional metrics of success, set objectives in the short and long term, and think about how you can really add value to younger generations’ lives and solve problems by addressing the critical issues of our time in increasingly creative (and fun) ways.

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